Is the European crisis overshadowing a bigger problem?
On 26 October 2016, UNHCR reported that 65 Million people world-wide, had fled their homes and more than a third (21 Million) were refugees. This was the largest migration crisis, since World War-II. Refugees refer to those, who have been forced to flee their country and forms a subset of displaced persons. Bulk of the refugees are Syria - 4.9 Million, Afghanistan – 3 Million, Iraq – 2 Million, Somalia - 1Million, Eritrea and Kosovo amongst others. There are also 10 Million state-less people, who have been denied a nationality.
Crossing the Mediterranean?
UNHCR has reported large number of deaths of refugees, while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the deaths are reported on the North Africa–Italy and Turkey-Greece routes. The situation is aggravated by people-smugglers, who over-pack the boats, to save costs.
How Significant is Europe’s Refugee Crisis?
Bulk of Europe’s refugees arrive by sea, at either Greece or Italy. Some even travel overland from Turkey and Albania. Amongst EU countries, Germany, France, Hungary and Sweden have been more accommodating towards refugees. The refugee camp at Calais, France is a symbol of the crisis in Europe. An unplanned colony with unhygienic conditions, the French government’s attempts to shut down the camps, were turned down by the courts, several times. Refugees were unwilling to vacate because the camp is only 48 Km from the Euro-tunnel to the UK and a preferred destination for refugees. It was only on 25 Oct 16, after most of the refugees were relocated to other places in France, could the dismantling work begin.